UPDATE: A Justice Department spokesperson has called the Times report inaccurate, and claimed that they are actually investigating an administrative complaint filed by Asian-American associations against Harvard University in 2015.
Jeff Sessions may have fallen out of favor with President Trump, but the embattled Attorney General is pushing ahead with efforts to destroy the Department of Justice from the inside.
Sessions has already attacked police reform agreements, withdrew the DOJ’s argument that a Texas voter ID law was enacted with discriminatory intent, dropped the lawsuit over North Carolina’s anti-transgender “bathroom law,” reversed course on mandatory minimum sentences, and argued that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 doesn’t protect gay, lesbian, and bisexual people from employment discrimination.
And yesterday the New York Times reported that the Trump administration is “preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.”
That’s right. Jeff Sessions and the DOJ will be investigating and suing universities with perfectly legal affirmative action policies because of the misguided belief that they’re discriminatory against whites. Indeed, according to the Times:
The document, an internal announcement to the civil rights division, seeks current lawyers interested in working for a new project on “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”
The announcement suggests that the project will be run out of the division’s front office, where the Trump administration’s political appointees work, rather than its Educational Opportunities Section, which is run by career civil servants and normally handles work involving schools and universities.
The document does not explicitly identify whom the Justice Department considers at risk of discrimination because of affirmative action admissions policies. But the phrasing it uses, “intentional race-based discrimination,” cuts to the heart of programs designed to bring more minority students to university campuses.
If such a project comes to fruition it will be a waste of valuable time and resources for the DOJ’s civil rights division, which was set up in accordance with the Civil Rights Act of 1957 in response to widespread anti-black racism.
At a time when reported hate crimes are on the rise — especially against the Muslim Americans — Jeff Sessions is going to take on affirmative action. As racial segregation rears its ugly head across the country and a transgender woman named TeeTee Dangerfield was found murdered in Georgia — the 16th such murder this year — the DOJ will be wasting its time protecting mediocre college applicants.
And then there’s the impact that a potential lawsuit could have on institutions of higher learning across the country.
As Kristen Clarke of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law was quoted as saying, “This is deeply disturbing. It would be a dog whistle that could invite a lot of chaos and unnecessarily create hysteria among colleges and universities who may fear that the government may come down on them for their efforts to maintain diversity on their campuses.”